What is SEAK?

What is SEAK?

Socially and Emotionally Aware Kids (SEAK) is a project of the Canadian Mental Health Association NS Division (CMHA NS) focused on scaling-up Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Atlantic Canada. Currently in Phase III (2015-2018), it is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Innovation Strategy and two philanthropic foundations.

The SEAK Project advocates and promotes SEL as a way to maintain and improve positive mental health, academic success, and school climate.


    Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is integral to the educational achievement, health, and well-being of all children, youth, and adults.
    Upon the completion of a successful scale up of SEL in Atlantic Canada, schools and communities will be able to demonstrate effective social and emotional skills, and schools will have created positive, engaging, safe and caring learning environments.
    Through this work, there will be a shared commitment among the four Atlantic Provinces to integrating and sustaining SEL in Atlantic Canada.

    For more information on the development of the SEAK project visit the SEAK Governance Model Report here and the SEAK Vision Document here

    SEL competencies include:

    • Self-awareness,
    • Self-management,
    • Social awareness,
    • Relationship skills, and
    • Responsible decision making (CASEL, 2017)

    SEAK is scaling-up SEL in two ways:

    1) Mobilize provincial and regional partners to institutionalize SEL (vertical scale-up).

    2) Work with school boards and selected schools to implement a chosen SEL curriculum: Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies® (PATHS®) (horizontal scale-up).

    "Scaling-up" refers to increasing “the reach and impact of successful interventions to benefit more people and to foster sustainable policy and program development” (PHAC, 2016).

    These are systematic efforts that involve integrating SEL into existing systems and policies, seeking new opportunities, and capitalizing on partnerships, to ensure sustainability of SEL programs in education.

    Implementing SEL in pilot schools

    The PATHS® curriculum is designed to help children develop their problem-solving skills, increase their self-motivation, and help in the identification and acknowledgement of emotions. PATHS® lessons are taught by the classroom teacher 2-3 times per week for 20-30 minutes. The curriculum includes: story models, discussions, skits, art activities, games, and step-by-step problem solving simulations.... For more information on PATHS® curriculum CLICK HERE.


    SEAK is a project of the Canadian Mental Health Association Nova Scotia Division (CMHA NS), in partnership with the provinces of New Brunswick (NB), Newfoundland & Labrador (NL), Nova Scotia (NS), and Prince Edward Island (PE). As the project lead, CMHA NS acts as a liaison to all SEAK Project activities while providing leadership to stakeholders and partners.

    Other Phase III Partners include:

    • Young Lives Research Lab, UPEI, who form the AREKT team (Atlantic Research, Evaluation, & Knowledge Translation)
    • Canadian Mental Health Associations in Atlantic Canada
    • School Districts in NB, NL, NS, and PE (pilot sites)

    The SEAK Project was made possible by the Public Health Agency of Canada Innovation Strategy.


    • CASEL. (2017, April). Core SEL competencies. Retrieved from: http://www.casel.org/core-competencies/
    • PHAC. (2016). Innovation Strategy: Equipping Canadians – Mental Health Throughout Life. Available from: